Business Case Creation

20 ap-business-case-creation

A lightweight business case provides visibility and economic justification for upcoming, cross-cutting work in Epics. It captures the results of analysis and is used by the appropriate authorities to make a go/no-go decision for the Epic.

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Related Mindset:

Value-Driven

Lean-Agile

Segment:

Agile Portfolio

Inputs:

An Epic with an epic value statement and success criteria

Outputs:

Go/No-Go Decision

Due to their intensive investment and far ranging impact, Epics require a lightweight business case.

Using a lightweight business cases provides just enough structure to ensure good investment decisions based on value without going so far as to define requirements or fix scope. It informs the strategy and investment funding responsibility of the Program Portfolio Management team. Created during the analysis stage in your Portfolio Kanban, the lightweight business case captures:

  • Solution alternatives
  • Potential paths for incremental implementation
  • Determination of costs
  • Identification of technology & architectural enablers
  • Definition of scope (in and out of scope)
  • Non-functional requirements
  • Impacts to other products, programs or services

In addition to these items, this lightweight business case will also provide refinement to WSJF prioritization compared to other epics. WSJF is a construct of the Scaled Agile Framework® which is defined as:

Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a prioritization model used to sequence “jobs” (features, capabilities) so as to produce maximum economic bene t in a ow-based system. WSJF is calculated as the cost of delay divided by job duration (or job size as a proxy).

Based on this information, stakeholders with sufficient content and budgetary authority consider approval of the epics. A lightweight business case and “go” decision from this authority should be considered pull criteria for the Backlog stage of your Portfolio Kanban.

For additional information on prioritization and the Portfolio Kanban review the following abstracts from the Scaled Agile Framework®:

Common Pitfalls

Even in organizations that create business cases, there are problems that can occur causing a derivation from the ideal implementation:

  • Not considering implementation strategies: Too often companies fail to consider implementation strategies that will allow the teams to release value incrementally. Discussing these strategies upfront will actually make it easier to break down the epic into features when transitioning to the Backlog stage and will allow for earlier measurement so that the approach can be adapted if necessary.
  • Over-analysis: Spending too much time on more detailed business cases than the one provided below will delay value. A lean enterprise delivers value in the shortest sustainable lead-time. It’s important to define just enough detail to make good economic decisions that drive your company’s strategic themes while not delaying the delivery of value. Using the template provided below, coupled with consideration of implementation strategies can help you avoid analysis-paralysis.

Tools

The Scaled Agile Framework® provides a template for Lightweight Business Case within their abstract on Epics:

Epic Abstract

References

  • Scaled Agile Inc., SAFe® 4.0 Glossary, Licensed Usage.